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Afghanistan

    April 09, 2015

    The Government of Afghanistan must turn its human rights commitments from words into reality, Amnesty International said today at the conclusion of a two-day conference in Kabul on the future of human rights in the country.

    The conference, organized by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) with Amnesty International’s support, brought together around 250 people – including roughly equal numbers of women and men – from the country’s 34 provinces. Discussion focused on ways forward through the country’s major human rights challenges.

    “This is a critical and delicate time for Afghanistan with its new government and the withdrawal of international forces, and possible peace talks on the horizon amid a surge in violence from armed opposition groups,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, who addressed the conference.

    April 07, 2015

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner

    Afghanistan is a dangerous place. It’s particularly dangerous for women, who all too often experience threats and violence simply because of their gender. Women in the public sphere, whether they are doctors, engineers, police officers, or politicians, are seen as stepping outside of social, cultural, and religious norms and are at particular risk. And the courageous women and men who take a stand to defend women’s human rights are at perhaps the greatest risk. The story of women human rights defenders in Afghanistan is a story of hope, courage, and resilience in the face of unspeakable tragedy.

    April 07, 2015

    Released Tuesday 7 April at 05.30am GMT (10.00am Kabul time)

    Women human rights defenders in Afghanistan who face mounting violence - including threats, sexual assault and assassinations - are being abandoned by their own government despite the significant gains they have fought to achieve, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Their Lives On The Line documents how champions for the rights of women and girls, including doctors, teachers, lawyers, police and journalists as well as activists have been targeted not just by the Taliban but by warlords and government officials as well. Laws meant to support them are poorly implemented, if at all, while the international community is doing far too little to ease their plight.

    March 27, 2015

    Amnesty International to launch report on mounting threats and attacks on women human rights defenders in Afghanistan

    On 7 April 2015, a new Amnesty International report will document how women human rights defenders in Afghanistan are facing growing attacks and violence from all sides – Taliban, local commanders, government officials and family members.

    Institutional indifference by the Afghan authorities mean most women defenders lack adequate protection and perpetrators are almost never held to account.

    The report will be launched with a press conference in Kabul on 7 April, which will be attended by Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty as well as Afghan women rights activists. Spokespeople are available in Kabul and London.

    On 8-9 April, Amnesty International will also co-organize a human rights conference in Kabul together with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    December 12, 2014

    The recent wave of attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other armed groups in Afghanistan are reprehensible acts which underscore the new Afghan government’s urgent responsibility to protect the right to life, Amnesty International said today.

    The most recent assault, a suicide bombing at Isteqlal High School Theatre in Kabul on Thursday evening, killed one and injured around a dozen civilians who were watching a play. It added to the rising toll of lives lost and hundreds of injuries in armed attacks in different parts of the country in recent weeks.

    “Targeting civilians for attack is reprehensible and a clear violation of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes. It is crucial that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.  

    “One of the core responsibilities of the Afghan authorities is protecting civilians against such violent attacks. The onus is now on the new administration to bolster the security response and regain the trust of the Afghan people.”

    December 03, 2014

    Afghanistan’s foreign donors should press the Afghan government to prevent a further deterioration in the country’s human rights situation and support services crucial to rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The groups issued a joint statement ahead of a major donors’ meeting on Afghanistan on December 3-4, 2014 in London. Despite the government’s important improvements in human rights, many serious abuses continue and pose a threat to the fragile gains of the past decade.

    Delegations from more than 70 countries will gather for the London Conference on Afghanistan, a follow-up to the July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. At that conference, both the Afghan government, then-headed by President Hamid Karzai, and international donors agreed on a “mutual accountability framework.” The London Conference will be the first such meeting under Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, and coincides with declining donor engagement in tandem with the end-2014 deadline for the withdrawal of the majority of foreign combat forces from Afghanistan.

    October 08, 2014

    The execution of five men in Afghanistan who had been convicted over a gang rape following a series of flawed trials is an affront to justice, Amnesty International said.

    Five men convicted of armed robbery and zina (sex outside marriage) in relation to the gang rape of four women in Paghman district outside of Kabul on 22 August were executed today in Pul-e-Charkhi jail. They were first sentenced to death on 7 September, a sentence later upheld in an appeals court (15 September) and by the Supreme Court (24 September), and confirmed by then-President Hamid Karzai.

    “There is no question that this was an appalling crime and the outcry and anger this case has caused is of course understandable. Amnesty International continues to campaign against rape and other sexual attacks globally and in Afghanistan. But the death penalty is not justice – it only amounts to short-term revenge,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director.

    September 26, 2014

    By Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International

    “Nearly every woman in Afghanistan has a painful story to tell,” says Dr Lima, an Afghan woman who decided to take action after witnessing harrowing cases of rape and violence against women in her country.

    Lima works to empower women who are at are at risk of human rights abuses in Afghanistan. She is a professional gynaecologist with a secret and dangerous sideline.
    “When I started working, I would not help people when they came to me for an abortion. I would say no,” she says.

    It was a predictable reaction in a country where abortions are illegal in the majority of circumstances, but in 2006 Lima was confronted with a story that brought home the devastating scale of the hardships faced by Afghanistan’s women. It would change her mind on the need for access to safe abortion and would lead her to offer abortion, contraception and other forms of help to women when they found themselves with nowhere to turn.

    September 03, 2014

    NATO risks leaving Afghanistan with a legacy of impunity unless the unlawful killings of civilians by international forces over more than a decade are addressed through justice and reparations, Amnesty International said ahead of a key international summit on 4-5 September in Newport, Wales.

    Among the agenda items for the NATO heads of state and government attending will be the support and training of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), who will assume full responsibility for security in the country by the end of the year.

    “With the end of the security transition just a few months away, it is a key time to address the almost total lack of accountability for civilian casualties, which is clearly unlawful and wholly unacceptable” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

    August 11, 2014

    The families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan have been left without justice, Amnesty International said in a new report released today. Focusing primarily on air strikes and night raids carried out by US forces, including Special Operations Forces, Left in the Dark finds that even apparent war crimes have gone uninvestigated and unpunished.

    “Thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces since the invasion, but the victims and their families have little chance of redress. The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

    “None of the cases that we looked into – involving more than 140 civilian deaths – were prosecuted by the US military. Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored.”

    April 03, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 4 April 2014

    The modest human rights gains made over the past 12 years in Afghanistan are increasingly under threat with a resurgence of violence and women’s rights being degraded again, Amnesty International said today in an assessment of the rights record of President Hamid Karzai’s administration.

    Ahead of the presidential elections on 5 April, Amnesty International has published a scorecard that assesses the government’s performance on six key human rights issues since Karzai first assumed power in 2001.

    “Afghans will head to the polls on Saturday with the threat of violence hanging over them, but have shown they will not be intimidated. The Taliban’s promises to kill voters and election workers are beneath contempt – the authorities must make sure that polling stations and voters receive the protection they need,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    March 06, 2014

    Presidential candidates must champion, not sideline, human rights, Amnesty International said today in an agenda for change aimed at candidates campaigning ahead of the 5 April vote.

    “There have been undeniable human rights improvements in Afghanistan over the past decade, but the situation is still bleak for millions across the country. Conflict-related violations and appalling levels of violence against women and girls are just two of the issues that must top the agenda for the next administration,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    “Candidates cannot afford to treat human rights as a second-string issue. Any more trading away of rights in Afghanistan for short-term gain will move the country backwards rather than forwards after 2014,”

    Almost complete impunity for past human rights abuses and war crimes persists in Afghanistan. Many of those now running for president or vice-president are facing serious allegations of complicity in such crimes.

    February 17, 2014

    Amnesty International commended President Hamid Karzai’s decision not to sign the draft Criminal Procedure Code, which would have denied justice to victims of rape, domestic violence and under-aged and forced marriage. The law was a threat to progress made on women's human rights, and the President’s veto is welcome.  
     
    The draft code passed by the Afghan parliament last month included a new provision which would have prohibited relatives of the accused from testifying in criminal cases. With most cases of gender-based violence taking place in the family, this would have made successful prosecutions nearly impossible.
     
    “This is an important step against retrograde legislation that would have let rapists and perpetrators of domestic violence off the hook,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International. 
     

    February 10, 2014

    Afghanistan’s new policy to help more than 600,000 internally displaced people, many of whom live on the brink of starvation and in cramped makeshift dwellings, is a milestone, said Amnesty International. However, the organization warns that it will only succeed with sustained political and financial backing.

    The Afghan government is expected to launch on 11 February its new national policy aimed at meeting the urgent human rights and humanitarian needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), more than 100,000 of whom have fled conflict in 2013 alone.

    “Increased protection for Afghanistan’s displaced, many of whom live in desperate conditions, has been a long time coming. We applaud the government for finally pushing this crucial policy through,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

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